Francis Xavier Velarde

St Matthew Clubmoor

St Matthew, Clubmoor, Liverpool by Francis Xavier Velarde (1897-1960). “..built through the generosity of the late Captain Matthew Honan FRIBA…killed in action on November the 14th 1916”. Completed in 1930. The interior is reminiscent of German railway station architecture of the ‘twenties. Severe, brown brickwork with Velarde’s characteristic low arches delineating passage-like aisles and the shallow vault over the nave. The brickwork was intended to contrast with the brilliance of the gold baldacchino sheltering the altar – the later addition of paler mosaics has significantly lessened the effect. The pews were originally painted dark green and light green. More pictures: Photoset.

St Matthew Clubmoor

St Matthew Clubmoor

Whither Manchester?


Spotted from a Manchester taxi crawling along Deansgate tonight, Jonathan Meades the substantial architectural critic. A noted critic of the architectural pretensions of totalitarian regimes of both left and right, could he be about to launch one of his withering and coruscating broadsides against the booming metropolis of the north? Continuity in Architecture feels faint in anticipation – a sensation which will only be dissipated by a good meal.

Modern Architecture Through Case Studies 1945-1990


Eamonn Canniffe of CiA has collaborated with Peter Blundell Jones to produce ‘Modern Architecture Through Case Studies 1945-1990’:

“Once again, new interpretations are presented of some of the most famous architecture of the period. Work by lesser-known architects, whose influence and role have been overlooked by conventional histories of the subject, is discussed. The case study structure allows each example to be discussed and used as a springboard to explore different theoretical approaches. Filled with beautiful photographs, plans and architect’s drawings, this is a clear and accessible discussion on a period of architecture that engages many questions still under debate in architecture today.”

Among the architects under discussion are the Smithsons, Stirling and Gowan, De Carlo, Piano and Rogers, Kroll, Rossi, Eisenman, Venturi and Scott Brown.

Doctor, Doctor!

At a degree congregation held at the University of Sheffield in December, Debabardhan Upadhyaya was presented with a Doctorate for his thesis entitled “Changing Paradigms in Evolving City Centres” supervised by Eamonn Canniffe. Among other places the thesis explored the city of Mumbai which features in the attached short film. Dr. Upadhyaya will also be contributing a chapter on Mumbai to the book ”The City Past and Present: Global perspectives on urban history and change” to be published by Ashgate in 2008. Student and supervisor are pictured outside their former workplace, The Arts Tower, home of the University of Sheffield School of Architecture.



Folded Concrete



There are few reasons to visit Leyland in Lancashire these days: the qualities of the original village were long ago submerged in Central Lancastrian suburban sprawl. One fine product of the population expansion was the Roman Catholic Church of St Mary (1959-1964), the product of a visionary priest and ecclesiastical architects at the top of their game. The priest went to Europe to observe new tendencies in church design and produced a model of an octagonal church centred on the altar.


The finished building combines circular geometry, expressed concrete and fine art works, including shards of stained glass set in a brutal concrete tracery, with a spacious plan consisting of an ambulatory encircling the central, dished space. The generosity of the plan is matched by the exterior space with its piazza and campanile. Architect: Jerzy Faczynski of Weightman & Bullen, Liverpool.

Plan: Blessed Sacrament Chapel to the left, entrance porch to the right

The Ambulatory

Campanile, Piazza, Church

Dalibor Vesely and The Vertical City

Dalibor Vesely, Honorary Professorial Fellow at Manchester School of Architecture and 2006 Winner of the Annie Spink Award for Excellence in Architectural Education, will deliver a lecture entitled



The lecture is open to students, staff, practitioners and public. Places are limited so please register by ‘phoning Yvonne Baum on 0161 247 6950 or email

Book: Architecture in the Age of Divided Representation by Dalibor Vesely


“Thinking Inside the Box”

Dr Charles Rice,, University Of Technology, Sydney

“Thinking Inside the Box: Interiors in the 21st Century – New Visions, New Horizons & New Challenges”, was held on the 1st and 2nd March at the Lighthouse Architecture Centre in Glasgow. It was organised by a collective of Scottish academics and was the first of what will hopefully be an annual event.

In an extremely intense couple of days, delegates from around the world debated the quality and character of interiors. The actual definition of the subject was discussed, the differences and similarities between interior architecture, design and decoration were deliberated upon, the influences of relevant and not so relevant historians and theoreticians were examined as well as the practical issues of education.

There were twenty-four presentations, and all were relevant and informative: Sally Stone (Manchester) and Graeme Brooker (Manchester) kicked off the event with a stirring keynote address, a discussion of the theoretical linked ideas that contextualism and installation art have with interior architecture. The other keynote speaker, Shashi Caan (Shashi Caan Collective, New York), discussed the importance of “place” rather than just “space” within the design of interiors.

Susie Attiwill (Melbourne) discussed the findings of the forum held in Melbourne late last year, the possibility or not that a significant collection or canon of interiors exists. C. Thomas Mitchell (Indiana) and Gennaro Postiglione (Milan) discussed the identity crisis (or not) within the subject and Andrew Stone (London) proposed that interiors are constructed from “…a coincidence of contexts”.

Patrick Hannay (Cardiff) despaired of the way forward for the education of interior architects and Lois Weinthal (New York), Mark Taylor (Wellington), Ro Spankie (Oxford Brooks), Saltuk Ozemir (Istanbul), Teresa Hoskins (Brighton), Julia Dwyer (Brighton) and José Bernardi (Arizona) presented papers based upon educational projects. Still on academic issues, Lynn Chalmers and Susan Close (both Manitober), Charles Rice (Sydney) and Luis Diaz (Brighton) discussed the problems of defining a theoretical basis for the subject.

There were a number of idiosyncratic and particular presentations, among them Gini Lee (Adelaide) talked poetically of the emergence of the “unreliable museum”. John Brown (Calgary) in a very charismatic presentation, described the advent of the “slow home” a reaction to the huge sprawling housing developments that are being constructed, just as slow food is a response to fast food. George Verghese (Sydney) pleaded for more consideration to be given to materials arguing that “…the handling of materials creates a sense of place”. Lorraine Farrally (Portsmouth) described techniques that allow a translation of physical activity into the mapping space. Tara Roscoe (New York) discussed the relationship between cyber and physical space; and how the use of the theoretical ideas that underpin our notions of the security and sacrilege of the home, are being used to destroy or defile houses within extreme environments was very movingly examined by Terry Meade (Brighton).

The symposium was, as the organisers hoped, both stimulating and challenging. We are looking forward to next summer’s event in Edinburgh.

Interiors Forum Scotland
slow home